Body-cams to be mandatory for all police officers in Alberta

Body-cams to be mandatory for all police officers in Alberta

The Alberta government announced on Tuesday that body-cams will become mandatory for all police officers in the province. Public Safety Minister Mike Ellis said the cameras will increase transparency between the public and police, helping to review interactions and improve police accountability.

The Ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Services will work with law enforcement agency partners on funding and logistics, while a committee of the Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police will be responsible for the rollout.


Alberta orders all police services to use body-cams.

Once the plan is in place, all frontline officers, including those working for municipal police services and selfadministered Indigenous police services, will be required to wear the cameras. Alberta will be the first province in Canada to mandate bodyworn cameras, while the RCMP is also in the process of a nationwide rollout.

Calgary police officers have been wearing bodyworn cameras since 2019, and Edmonton Police Service trialled the use of the cameras a decade ago. The trial found no quantitative evidence that the cameras had an effect on complaints, nor evidence the cameras led to a reduction in useofforce incidents. However, it did help speed up complaint investigations.

A report on bodyworn camera use in Calgary found the number of useofforce incidents declined the year after the cameras were brought in. Internal and external complaints against police officers increased slightly, but complaint resolution time was reduced by half.

Concerns over cost

When it comes to the effectiveness of the devices, research is mixed. While some studies have shown that police use of force can be decreased with the presence of bodyworn cameras, other research indicates that police use of force can actually increase with the cameras.

Christopher Schneider, a sociology professor at Brandon University in Manitoba, has published several peerreviewed articles on bodyworn cameras. He suggests that a more effective way to improve police accountability would be for officers to carry personal liability insurance, with premiums increasing in the event of police misconduct or the use of excessive force.

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta has also weighed in on the use of bodyworn cameras, encouraging municipal police services to submit privacy impact assessments to ensure privacy risks are mitigated.

Ultimately, the implementation of bodyworn cameras could provide an objective measure of what occurs during interactions between police and the public, potentially corroborating testimony given in court and shortening trials. However, the effectiveness of the cameras, as well as the associated costs, still remains to be seen.

Source: CBC News

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